Does this look familiar? For most of us, this has been the only way to connect with our elders over the last few months. Zoom and Skype has become the ‘new normal’ in terms of communication. Family reunions planned over Easter were postponed to summer half term until summer half term was shelved indefinitely.
For many of us, these virtual gatherings tend to be our only link with our parents, e.g. our children’s grandparents, for extended periods of time, but this has been of course exceptional. We might be feeling less anxious now than back in March and April and not telling them what they can and can’t do on a daily basis. It has been a very isolating time for the elderly, being amongst those ‘most at risk’. For the ones already living by themselves, it has been the most lonely time, especially those without family ties in place. I came across many cases of this as a Mutual Aid volunteer during lockdown. But it has also been a time, which has brought many families together in ways previously unexplored and has led to more regular conversations.
Preparations are underway to see grandparents over the summer, in some cases complex measures will be in place to ensure a safe time in each other’s company. It will bring many challenges, but hopefully also much needed opportunity to catch up face to face and cherish one another. The longing to see her grandmothers is certainly immense for my daughter, enhanced by what still feels a very real and present danger.
Many grandparents have not made it through this pandemic and it deeply saddens me to think of the sorrow so many families are experiencing right now. With grandparents gone, a piece of the past is lost forever. This virus has given no advance notice and no time to prepare. It has taken too many who should have had more time.
May the coming months bring some respite and a chance to celebrate life, family and stories.